Comments on: The driveway tax A slice of lime in the soda Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:05:02 +0000 hourly 1 By: ScottofHybla Thu, 09 Sep 2010 09:50:53 +0000 “But anything which moves us away from the costly world of free parking has got
to be a good thing”

I think that is exactly right. I take it you don’t buy the assumption in the opening sentence: “How to get drivers to help pay for the direct costs and negative externalities they cause?”

I would recommend Donald Shoup’s book: king/dp/1884829988

By: name99 Mon, 30 Aug 2010 21:15:54 +0000 “But anything which moves us away from the costly world of free parking has got to be a good thing”

Hmm. I would not put it this way. The details of this strike me as EXACTLY the kind of BS the plutocracy (and it’s minor appendages in Kansas) have been pulling for years. You can solve the kind of problem you can describe in the most economically efficient method — charge for what is being rationed — or you can try to make the resultant cost “more fair”. But what has been implemented here is neither fair nor efficient.

So why do it this way? Well, cui bono? The beneficiaries are clearly those who drive a lot — which skews rich.

And implementing taxes like this is not cost free. It breeds anger and resentment at “the system” (which is justified, to the extent that “the system” is this nickel-and-diming of people) and a very justified sense that “the system” is not fair. The downsides to the law and government are only put up with to the extent the system is perceived as fair.

Already the combination of plutocracy and citizen rage at taxation (driven substantially by the unfairness of the existing system — everyone can find something egregiously unfair about it) has driven us off an economic cliff.
Further encouraging these sorts of stupid (but, I imagine, thought to be oh so clever — let’s tax the rubes more and that way we’ll tax ourselves less — by the town council) is simply encouraging us to drive off a political cliff.

By: TFF Sun, 29 Aug 2010 02:12:03 +0000 I don’t have references either, but I’ve read similar principles to what Dan Hess describes. Trucking is responsible for the majority of the wear-and-tear on the interstates due to the immensely greater pavement loads. Surely everybody has noticed the difference in damage between the left lane (rarely visited by heavy vehicles) and the middle/right lanes?

As for a “driveway tax”, it seems a blatant ploy to charge retail districts for the traffic they bring into town. Surely there are easier ways to address this?

By: DanHess Fri, 27 Aug 2010 20:39:34 +0000 As for the relationship between energy use and road damage, part of it is course plain old weight. Trucks and buses need to burn a lot of gas to lug that weight around. Also, cars with powerful engines can wear on roads via hard starts. But I don’t have precise figures.

A petroleum tax seems like the least obtrusive way to handle things, letting the free market figure things out. A gradually rising gas tax has many benefits:
(1) It attacks the petroleum-pollution problem head on
(2) It attacks the import-export imbalance head on
(3) It deals with our reliance and funding of dangerous nations head-on
(4) It helps push us away from dependence on a scarce resource, a transformation we need to make anyway, both in private consumption and in terms of business use
(5) If people really want to drive, they can drive whatever they want, as much as they want. There wouldn’t be hard prohibitions that curtail freedom. Folks will just have to pay plenty for the priviledge.

Petroleum tax really ought to be moved far upstream, for two big reasons:
(1) If you ‘hide the tax’ it may face less resistance than if it is right there at the pump for everyone to feel angry about
(2) It should cover everything, not just driving. In other words, the chemical industry, airline fuel, diesel for farms, and so on. This is for fairness and to really give the economy the transformation it needs.

By: hsvkitty Fri, 27 Aug 2010 19:22:36 +0000 Oooh and here is an interesting find.

“In Oregon, commercial vehicles pay a weight-mile tax instead of the fuel tax that passenger vehicles pay. The weight-mile tax is part of the funding Oregon uses to preserve and maintain roads and bridges.”

Here is what happened when they set up a weigh station to weigh 200 trucks , which have weight and length restrictions…22 were in violation. tail.asp?news_id=69172&news_category_id= 3

By: hsvkitty Fri, 27 Aug 2010 19:12:09 +0000 This is an interesting discussion and is probably why there are few town hall type meetings to get ideas from citizens. Our ideas are best!

It would be nice if higher tax on gas brought about a market force to get smaller and more fficient vehicles built and on the road and the opposite kind off as they have overseas. However, taxing by harm to the environment can result in this:  /article3850617.ece

Taxing gas (additionaly as most already had add on taxes for roads) means that businesses will merely add their extra costs for delivery, shipping and other operating costs on to the consumer. That doesn’t at all capture everyone using the streets, as the consumer pays twice.

Taxing by the odometer is a logistic nightmare but would be fairest of all. The cost of implementing it would probably cut any revenue to a negative result.

Dan Hes said:

“To a first approximation the amount of harm caused to a road is in proportion to the amount of energy ‘lost’ into the road, and the amount of energy lost is in proportion to fuel consumption. This makes sense”

That does make sense. You didn’t offer a solution though. Gas in no way captures their extra burden on raods. The major reason why roads need so much resurfacing is the wear and tear from larger vehicles.

While weight and odometer stations sound like a great answer and would tax those who actually are the burden on the roads, how can you implement and cover losses?

By: Beer_numbers Fri, 27 Aug 2010 18:40:34 +0000 DanHess,
That’s interesting and surprising, to me at least. (I would have guessed that city buses do enormous damage, but for reasons not necessarily related to their fuel consumption.) Do you happen to know of a source that talks about the subject in more detail?


By: DanHess Fri, 27 Aug 2010 18:28:40 +0000 To a first approximation the amount of harm caused to a road is in proportion to the amount of energy ‘lost’ into the road, and the amount of energy lost is in proportion to fuel consumption. This makes sense. City buses do a great deal of harm to road surfaces as compared to cars; they are burning much more energy and disbursing a portion of it into the road.

To put a price on road harm, a gas tax captures this better than other methods. Similarly, that old Wrangler is surely harming the road more than the Prius. A portion of the energy it wastes will be disbursed into the road surface (rougher ride, energy-lossy starts and stops).

By: Beer_numbers Fri, 27 Aug 2010 14:25:04 +0000 Although I’m in favor of a higher gas tax generally, I don’t think it’s suitable in this circumstance. If the city is trying to raise money for deteriorating roads, they should levy the tax on the activity that causes the deterioration. That means assessing a fee per mile driven, perhaps adjusted by vehicle weight.

With a gas tax, a Toyota Prius that drives 10,000 miles a year at 50 MPG pays about 1/3 in gas tax compared to a Jeep Wrangler getting 16 MPG, even though they’re arguably doing comparable damage to the road (older Wranglers seem to be about the same weight – 3,000 pounds). A miles-driven fee seems to attack the problem more directly.

By: Dafydd Fri, 27 Aug 2010 10:36:53 +0000 problem is, it doesn’t incentivise people to drive less.

Fuel tax is the only way to do this. Much better than congestion charging. Cheap to collect and difficult to avoid. It also incentivises more efficient vehicles.

Somehow the obvious political problem with taxing fuel has to be tackled.